Years ago I worked for Dillard Paper Company. While I like to jokingly say that I sold toilet paper, most of my income came from selling printing paper. I’d graduated with a degree in English / Journalism, but I knew before graduation that newspaper reporters didn’t earn a lot.
So I went into sales. There I discovered a love for the smell of fedron, printing ink, and paper. To this day, when I drive past a paper mill, the odor that causes others to roll up their windows makes me smile. For me, the bleaching of wood pulp is the smell of money.
Stark S. Dillard founded the company in 1926. When I joined Dillard in 1989 it was still a family run business. Within the Carolinas and Virginia, Dillard was the paper company. We had competitors, but Dillard represented the best paper mills. If you wanted to make money selling paper, you worked for Dillard.
At some point Mr. Dillard noticed that May was the company’s worst sales month, so in the early 1950s, the company introduced “D” Month. This sales contest was an inter-company competition for the Stark S. Dillard trophy (a large silver Paul Revere bowl), awarded to the salesperson who had the greatest percentage increase over his or her personal quota. Second and third place finishers were also recognized, as was the top finisher in each division. I never won the Dillard trophy. I almost won the “top finisher” for our Raleigh division one year, but lost on the final day of the month.
I tell you this because “D” Month became Dillard Paper’s best sales month during its first year and every year afterwards.
“D” Month became so entrenched within the industry that other paper companies all but conceded May to Dillard Paper. Our customers would save orders for us, find orders for us, and politely tell our competitors to come back in June.
I loved “D” Month. I gave cookies and candy and cash to my customers. I wore “D” Month garb. To earn sympathy orders, I made sales calls with my son. (I had to pull him out of pre-school.) On my desk (I’m looking at it right now) is a button issued during one “D” Month that says, “Positively Outrageous Service.” (We had a different D” Month theme each year.) I still try to live by that motto and offer more than what the consumer expects.
For Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, July is traditionally our worst sales month. It’s been that way from the first year we began publishing books. (2009) But not this year. This year July became our best sales month ever.
Some of this has to do with the Amazon ads we’re running. Some of this has to do with our LPC FREE book newsletter list. We’re up to almost 2,500 subscribers. Our goal is to have 10,000 subscribers by end of year.
But the biggest thing that’s helped? The prayers of others. Well … prayers and great books.
Remember how I mentioned that Dillard represented the best paper mills? I like to think that much of why July became our best sales month is because readers finally discovered LPC has some pretty good books. But the books were great before readers found them. This is why I attribute all our success to God’s blessings and the faithful prayers of our prayer warriors.
So thanks to all who pray and support LPC!
If you would like to support LPC with your prayers, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Beth will supply the name and title of one LPC book.